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Superprestige #6 - Diegem - C1
Diegem, Belgium, December 28, 2008
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Race 4 - December 28: Elite Men
Outstanding solo from dark knight Stybar
By Brecht Decaluwe in Diegem, Belgium
Just like at the World Cup round in Zolder two days ago, an early attack resulted in the victory, this time under the flood lights in Superprestige round number six at Diegem, near Brussels. Czech champion Zdenek Stybar seized his moment to win and snuck away during the third lap of the evening race.
Being no threat for the likes of Nys and Vantornout in the Superprestige standings, Stybar's attack wasn't immediately marked. Nys pulled the big chasing group for one lap and kept the gap within 10 seconds, but when the Belgian champion stopped chasing Stybar suddenly had more than twenty seconds on the first chasers. Stybar kept his speed on the frozen course and headed for the victory. A late flat tire scared the 23-year-old Czech for a moment, but in the end he kept his cool and grabbed his first victory of the season.
"I was in panic when I punctured because I could lose everything. I was scared that I wouldn't be able to handle the downhill towards the pit," Stybar said. "Luckily it was possible and after switching bikes I still had a good gap."
The Czech champion didn't have many Superprestige points and after the race he agreed that he could benefit from that. "It wasn't a disadvantage to ride alone and I was no threat in the Superprestige. Many people were forgetting about me but today I showed that I can still win," Stybar said.
Behind Stybar there was some spectacular racing during the last laps as a chasing group that consisted of Nys, Thijs Al, Vantornout and Sven Vanthourenhout split apart. Vanthourenhout punctured while Nys, in a final effort to get back to Stybar, slipped on the frozen course thus losing a certain second position to his major rival Vantornout.
"My main rival should've been behind me. That was my mistake and it shouldn't have happened," Nys said. The Belgian champion remains in the lead of the Superprestige ranking but Vantornout took one point back and is now trailing Nys by only two points. "I benefited from a mistake from Nys in the last lap. I have been sick this week and despite that I won in Torhout and did more than damage control today; I did a very good job," Vantornout said.
In the background there was a notable performance from Jonathan Page. While awaiting the verdict on his missed post-race doping control the former US-champion showed up at the start in Diegem. He crashed hard during the third lap when Bart Aernouts went down after hitting a spectator at high speed. Page continued the race, although far back, and pleased the crowd at the sand pit by getting through the long section twice; a feat that the riders in the front of the race didn't accomplish once.
The penultimate round of the Superprestige Series proves to be very exciting but we'll have to wait until February 8, 2009 when the cyclo-cross peloton heads for Hoogstraten.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Cyclingnews
1 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 1.00.44 2 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 0.08 3 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner 4 Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne 5 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.39 6 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 0.45 7 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.50 8 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 0.55 9 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.58 10 Martin Bína (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor 1.05 11 Christian Heule (Swi) Rendementhypo Cycling Team 1.35 12 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 1.38 13 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Van Vliet EBH Elshof 1.41 14 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 1.45 15 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 2.21 16 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 2.26 17 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas 18 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 19 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Palmans - Cras 20 Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Prodoli Racing Team 2.36 21 Tom Van den Bosch (Bel) Rendementhypo Cycling Team 2.45 22 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Drink - Be One 23 Stijn Huys (Bel) Palmans Cras 2.48 24 Troy Wells (USA) TIAA CREF/Clif Bar 2.55 25 Wesley Van der Linden (Bel) 3.22 26 Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 3.42 27 Wilant van Gils (Ned) Pro Cycling Team ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida 3.51 28 Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike 4.04 29 Jempy Drucker (Lux) Fidea Cycling Team 4.09 30 David Boucher (Fra) 4.16 31 Matt Shriver (USA) 4.38 32 Jody Crawforth (GBr) Arctic Premier 5.01 33 Kiichi Tsujiura (Jpn) 5.19 34 Brian Matter (USA) 5.47 35 John Derrick (Can) 6.22 36 Sven Renders (Bel) 6.37 37 Jonathan Baker (USA) 7.00 38 David Meys (Bel) Scott USA Cycling Team 7.32 One lap behind 39 Robin Seymour (Irl) 40 Adrian Lansley (GBr) Two laps behind 41 Andre Sutton (Can) Hardcore Cycling Club Three laps behind 42 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Four laps behind 43 Julien Theron (Fra) Five laps behind 44 Stephen Dessaint (Fra) Standings Superprestige series 1 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 84 pts 2 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 82 3 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 73 4 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 63 5 Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne 48 6 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 43 7 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 34 8 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 34 9 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 31 10 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 30 11 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans - Cras 28 12 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 25 13 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 24 14 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Palmans - Cras 22 15 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 21 16 Christian Heule (Swi) Rendementhypo Cycling Team 11 17 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Drink - Be One 9 18 Wilant van Gils (Ned) Pro Cycling Team ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida 9 19 Radomír imunek (Cze) Palmans - Cras 7 20 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 7 21 Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Prodoli Racing Team 6 22 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Van Vliet EBH Elshof 6 23 Martin Bína (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor 6 24 Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 5 25 Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike 5 26 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 3 27 Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro Team 2 28 Tom Van den Bosch (Bel) Rendementhypo Cycling Team 1 29 Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne 1